I walked out into the parking lot and put my bag of goodies in the back of the van. I had just left the store with bars of chocolate and a decorative something something for the house and earrings I did not need but thought were cute, so I bought them too.
As I started the van I saw a young lady walking up to it, to me. She approached me just as I was about to go into reverse and motioned for me to put down my window.
I hesitated. What did she want?
She stood there with a piece of paper in her hand as I surveyed her face and clothes within a quick second. Red skinny jeans. Black tank top. Short, red hair. Backpack.
I pushed the button to make the window go down as cynical thoughts filled my mind. But she looked healthy, not sallow or strung out.
She shoved the piece of paper in my face and pointed at the words written in black Sharpie, with a pen in her other hand. She did not say a word, just used her eyes.
As I read I wanted to believe. It said she was part of a volleyball team of deaf girls and that they had recently won all of their games and now needed money for clothes and travel to go to a tournament. I glanced down the paper which included a list of many others who had contributed to her cause and had written their names and the amount they had given . At the end of her written plea she asked for $5.
I had just spent twice as much on a pair of earrings.
I quickly grabbed my wallet and looked for some cash to give her. I found $4 and handed them to her with a friendly smile on my face. She smiled back, mouthed “Thank You” and went on her way.
Later I sat at lunch retelling this encounter to Tim and I admitted to him that part of me wondered if she was honest about what the money would go toward. We agreed that it was a shame that I even had to go there in my head.
In reality there were a slew of other things she could possibly buy with the money she was collecting. Situations like this make me start to think about the state of our world and all of those people who cannot just walk into a store and buy a pair of “cute” earrings without a second thought, like me.
Sometimes I bear the weight of the world like a flower being pressed inside a book, with three more heavy books on top, forcing it to flatten and preserve. Sometimes that weight is too much.
So I decided not to think about the possibility that this young lady may have deceived me and instead chose to believe her.
My giving felt so much better that way.
And it probably felt better to the other woman I saw her talking to, after me, as well as the many other people listed on her paper.
Yes, we ALL chose to believe her.
I just really hope it was true.